Parish council to fight back against housing green light

Angmering Parish Council will fight the controversial decision to build new homes which ignored residents' wishes.

Tuesday, 22nd November 2016, 5:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th November 2016, 10:26 am
Angmering Parish Council chairman Susan Francis and (left to right) Roger Phelon, Bill Evans, Steven Mountain, John Oldfield and Mike Hill-Smith. Picture: Derek Martin

Councillors voted unanimously to take action against the approval of nine homes between New Place Bungalow and Arundel Road by Arun District Council.

The decision to approve the homes was made at a meeting of the district council’s development control committee on November 2.

It went against the parish’s neighbourhood plan – a legal document crafted by residents to shape the vision of their village.

Speaking at a parish council meeting last Monday, councillor Steven Mountain said: “It was the most disgraceful and appalling management of a development control meeting I have ever seen.”

Mr Mountain went on to criticise chairman Jacqui Maconachie, who he claimed read pre-prepared statements during the meeting.

He said: “She had predetermined the entire event. To have printed sheets in front of her and to read off of them is malpractice and fundamentally wrong.”

In response, Ricky Bower, Arun District Council’s cabinet member for planning and economic regeneration, said: “We do not believe that any ‘predetermination’ has taken place but we will investigate, if any evidence is provided by Angmering Parish Council. They have not, however, contacted us.”

Clerk Rob Martin said he would examine the parish council’s options, including a judicial review into the events of the meeting. He said he hoped to present a plan to the council by mid December.

Susan Francis, parish council chairman, said the action they decided to take would affect their budget.

“We have basically been told our neighbourhood plan doesn’t exist anymore.

“We have to take our decision very seriously. We may have to spend serious amounts of money, and that comes from parishioners.”

Arun cannot find enough land to meet its housing demand over the next five years, rendering all planning policies out of date.

Mr Bower said the district council was seeking an ‘urgent meeting’ with the Government for advice on how to resolve the issue.

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